Ghosts from Berkshire Places
Beginning with 'W'
The ‘George’ Inn is a very
ancient pub with many a story to tell. The best known is that surrounding
the so-called ‘Tear-Drop Room’. This guest-bedroom is has a wall hand
decorated all over with what are either tears or pears. It is said they
were painted by a distraught landlord’s daughter who had been confined
in the room for her own safety. The poor girl had gone completely round
the bend, upon hearing of the murder of her lover. She apparently mixed
soot from the fireplace with her tears and used her finger to draw the
only shape she could think of on the wall. One hotel guest was woken in
the night by a very life-like young woman with tears streaming down her
face. She turned and disappeared into the tear-drop wall. The witness had
no prior knowledge of the old story.
In Room 5 at the same inn, several guests are reported to have seen the ghosts of two young children standing by the Wash Basin.
The cellars have also produced the
phenomenon known as ‘instant replay’ or ‘delayed echo’. After
having replaced all the bungs in the beer-barrels one night, the barman
locked the cellar door, only to hear, from the other side, the sound of
the bungs being tapped again.
Colonel John Walsh of
is recorded to have shot a highwayman on Ascot Heath on his way home and
thought nothing more of it than of shooting crows. His ghost pursues his
mistress, Rachel’s ghost down Jock’s Lane. This lady had drowned
herself, in the lake in the park which was later named after her, because
John had moved on to a new lady-friend. She is often seen wandering
through Warfield Park amongst the park homes of today.
In 1874, the local villagers had
somehow got it into their heads that the well-loved Lady Ormathwaite of
Warfield Park was being mistreated by her husband; and they set about
organising the rustic revenge of a ‘tin-canning’. A large group
gathered together and marched along Forest Road up to the park, banging
saucepans and making a great hullabaloo in order to embarrass his Lordship
into repentance. They were quickly chased away, but on the night of every
28th October, their spectral procession appears to re-enact these
extraordinary events near the ‘Plough & Harrow’. They are led by a
club-footed boy in a bright-red military-style tunic, banging a drum and
accompanied by his pet monkey!
The ‘Yorkshire Rose’ Restaurant
is claimed to stand on the site of a medieval hostel run by a small group
of monks for pilgrims travelling through Windsor Forest. This is
remembered in nearby Priory Road. The ghostly presence in the building is,
not surprisingly, a cowled figure all in black. Mystical chanting has been
heard in more recent years.
The ‘Bull’ at Wargrave was, for
nine years, the home of the Gibbs family. Almost every year, at about the
time of the Henley Regatta, they would hear crying coming from ‘Room
2’ at night. It was only after hearing this a number of times that they
discovered the reason. The villagers revealed an old story that, in the
1820s, a former landlord had discovered that his wife was having an affair
behind his back. He immediately threw her out on the street, forbidding
her to return or see her young child. She died of a broken heart soon
afterward, and her spirit returns every year on the anniversary of her
ejection, sobbing as she packs her bags.
The Thames, behind the ‘George
& Dragon,’ was once the site of a small ferry. In the winter of
1878, the Thames froze over and this became a popular spot for skating. A
Captain Markham insisted that the ferryman take him and his sister across
the river so they could join in. Reluctantly he agreed and, helped by his
young daughter, he undertook the trip. But disaster struck and the ferry
sank. The adults just managed to make it to the banks, but the little girl
was drowned. Her spirit later was seen walking along the riverside path
behind the old inn.
Lord Barrymore’s ghost haunts Barrymore House which more or less rebuilt in the High Street. He was a famous 18th century gambler, practical joker and theatre goer. In 1791, he even built a theatre in this tiny Berkshire village. Joking to the last, Barrymore’s ghost hides door keys and tries to push visitors down the stairs. He has a companion in the spirit of a lady in a grey silk dress. The swhooshing of her skirts are heard as she materialises amongst the distinct smell of lavender. Dogs will not go upstairs in the house.
The ghost of a ‘lady in white’
walks in Gaunt Cottage and through the wall to the adjoining building.
This may be the Saxon Queen Emma who, tradition holds, had a place on the
site. Read the Full Story.
Wargrave Manor is allegedly haunted.
“Strange things happen in the night”.
In the long past, Bowsey Hill had an
uncanny reputation, due possibly to its remoteness, and it was a favourite
spot for the country folk to localise traditions of various kinds. Among
these, one was prevalent around Reading to the effect that on the other
side of the hill was the abode of lost souls. It was supposed to be the
Clapham Junction of the Underworld and, the night a person died, their
spirit would come here for judgement as to whether they would go up to
heaven or down to hell. Anyone travelling there could ask the spirit one
last question before it departed, and it would be compelled to answer
truthfully. About 1825, a certain old inhabitant, who had an unenviable
reputation in the village of Sonning, died early one summer morning. The
same evening a labourer returning from his work at Charvil Farm and
hearing the event, exclaimed "Ah, 'tis no more than I expected for I
saw him go over the top of Bowsey Hill as I was going to work this
morning". Its reputation had advantages and many a felon fleeing from
the hands of justice is said to have secured temporary immunity in its
The Falkland Memorial at the
junction of Essex Street and Andover Road commemorates that Lord Falkland
who lost his life in the First Battle of
Newbury. His body was carried to
Falkland Farm, now Falkland Garth, and local legend says that his ghost
still haunts the place: a short man wearing black who disappears very
quickly after being seen. Dogs will not sleep in the kitchen.
The Victorian Gothic mansion of
Oakley Court is well-known to cinema goers as St. Trinian’s School and
both Dracula and Frankenstein’s Castle, for it stands next to Bray
Studios, home of Hammer Horror. It was used by the French Resistance
during the War, but those employed there complained of all manner of
ghostly phenomena. In the 1950s, the place was left derelict for many
years. The atmosphere around the building apparently became so oppressive
that it caused a number of people to commit suicide in the Thames.
The ghost of the Lord of the Manor
– probably one of the Archers or Eyres – gave so much trouble to the
people of this village that, finally, they were forced to call in twelve
priests to lay him to rest. He would only depart if given the two mice
under the straw. Luckily for two locals hiding under the bales, the
ministers offered him the two cocks in the roost instead. Read the full
charming little thatched cottage, Bankside, is haunted by a ghost dressed
in 16th century costume. He is six feet tall, looks about forty years old
and has blonde hair. He wears white breeches, white hose and a white
shirt. Across his waist (diagonally from his shoulder) he has a blue sash,
which was probably used to hold his sword. He looks as if he has just come
back from a war. Although he does no harm to anybody, many weird things
happen through him. Sweets, biscuits and other such things may disappear
only to be found in another place. Also milk bottle tops and other such
things will suddenly fly across the room. Another eerie thing that happens
in that house is that sometimes at night the stairs will creak one after
another as though there is someone climbing them. Whenever he is there,
visible or otherwise, there is an icy cold feeling.
a few reports of the village ghost: a man killed in a road accident. Two
sisters driving at night once saw a man in a cap and overcoat rush in
front of the path of their car. Horrified, the driver braked and awaited
the crash, but none came and the man had disappeared.
Victoria Street is a house only one room thick. The ghost of a woman
accompanied by the smell of cloves haunts this building. Her favourite
trick is to lock the doors and windows of rooms from within, so that the
locksmith has to be called in.
A house in Thames Street, now a
shop, was once part of a Tudor inn which housed many guests to the castle.
Shoppers feel a slight push in the back when no-one is there. The
adjoining property was incorporated into the same inn and the home of the
Deacon family from 1916. Mrs. Deacon saw visions of Cardinal Wolsey in the
house twice at noon on Easter Thursday, though some ten years apart. He
appeared in his red robes and cardinal’s hat, wringing his hands and
pacing with head down as if in deep thought. He walked right through bed
in one of the Tudor bedrooms. It is suggested that he fled to the old inn
after being dismissed by King Henry VIII. Another ghost, given the name
‘Fred,’ was a priest or monk in a brown cowl, seemingly searching for
something. More alarming were terrifying dreams of being attacked and
strangled by a horrible old man which plagued several family members until
a medieval cooking pot containing a baby’s bones was discovered in the
cellar and reburied in consecrated ground.
A man in a cap and gown (or
coachman’s cloak) haunts No.1 Thames Street and, probably a different
ghost, used to raise his straw hat and smile at the residents. The former
mat be the Hawaiian Chieftain who visited George III and died in this
building in the days when it was an inn. The usual mysterious footsteps
have been heard and there are areas in the house which dogs react badly
The old Theatre Royal in Thames
Street was burnt down in 1908, when a young girl, named Charlotte, died in
the blaze. Her ghost now haunts the present theatre rebuilt on the same
Sir Christopher Wren’s House on
the approach to Eton Bridge has no proof that it was either owned or
designed by the great man, but it is certainly a fine example of early
18th century architecture. It has had the reputation as a
haunted house for many decades, if not centuries. The servants of one
tenant, Baroness Vaux, refused to stay in the building and local
substitutes had to be sought instead. The ghost is particularly associated
with one of the smaller guest rooms up the back staircase. One witness
described it as a tall figure of a man, but with no associated menace.
The Georgian ‘Anne Foord’s
House’ in Park Street is haunted by the ghost of a monk, nicknamed
‘Thomas,’ who walks around the upper floors and descends the
staircase. He is rarely seen but objects have been heard being moved about
the house and a little bell rings to sound early morning prayers.
Residents have also had the feeling of being watched.
Footsteps heard on the stairs were
commonplace at the 18th century Hadleigh House in Sheet Street. Once, the
drawing-room door was inexplicable bolted from the inside and had to be
broken into with some difficulty. Loud knockings and the distinct smell of
clove carnations have manifested themselves in the dining-room and
The first floor landing of Old
Institute House in Sheet Street is prone to sudden drops in temperature.
The owner of the top floor flat was visited one night by the figure of a
man of five foot six, who disappeared when he turned the light on. He was
tanned or dark skinned and may have been stark naked, for he glistened in
the moonlight. His eyes were most remarkable for they large and wide open.
It is suggested that he saw a leper from the old pest house at the bottom
of the street. From his garden, the same witness once saw a group of
phantoms dressed in long cloaks and gowns, the last of whom certainly wore
a tall black Puritan hat and white collar. They were probably associated
with the demolished Abbey House.
The old Pest House itself, at 29
Sheet Street, was haunted by the spirit of a very thin old man nicknamed
‘George’. He wore a dark cloak and appeared most often ascending the
stairs, heading of a certain spare bedroom where the door had to always be
kept open. At night, objects on a shelf would be re-arranged and hats
knocked off their hooks.
The tiny ‘Anne Page’s
Cottage,’ tucked behind the High Street, was thought to be haunted by a
number of spirits during the Second World War. Rustling skirts were heard
in the panelled sitting-room and of the two other ghosts, one was hostile
and the other friendly.
Ghostly footsteps travelling
upstairs are heard at ‘Elizabethan House’ in Peascod Street, followed
by a distinct drop in temperature.
A ghostly figure wearing ‘a stiff
white collar and a hat like a Quaker with long flowing hair and a beard’
haunts the Engine House Restaurant in Church Lane. Again there are
footsteps heard upstairs.
In the 19th century, Travers College
– St. George’s Choristers’ School – in Datchet Road was a
charitable home for six poor retired naval officers and their governor.
The place was closed in 1892, but the spirit of the last governor, an
admiral, has refused to leave the premises.
The upper floor of the old New
British Schools building in Victoria Road was haunted by the footsteps of
Joseph Chariott, the Victorian philanthropist who built the place.
A 1920s style man in a cap once
appeared in broad daylight in the garden of an old Georgian House in
Gloucester Place. He disappeared into thin air a short distant from the
resident. The tinkle of bells was also sometimes heard in the house.
Two men driving down St. Leonard’s
Road towards King Edward VIII Hospital thought they had hit a woman who
appeared in front of their car, though they felt no bump. Upon stopping to
check, they found that there was no-one about.
The old operating theatre at King
Edward VIII Hospital is said to be haunted by Sir Joseph Skeffington, the
Nurses’ Quarters at Castle Hill
House and a house in Frances Road are also said to be haunted.
Long Walk House in King’s Road was
haunted, at the back, by a ghostly lady; but it has now been demolished.
Trinity Place was the scene of a
gruesome murder during the Second World War when a woman was strangled
there. Years later, a resident felt a ghostly hand on her shoulder when
going to bed, yet there was no-one there.
What used to be the Playhouse Cinema
was treated to the sound of running footsteps and sudden drops in
temperature, as well as sightings of a ghostly woman in a long dress.
These phenomena are thought to be related to a the murder of a woman in a
shop which used to stand on the site.
In the 1920s, a house in Vansittart
Road was disturbed by footsteps heard on the stairs at night and
mysterious knockings at the front door. The inhabitants learnt to live
A large house towards the Great
Park, named Maidlea Cottage, has a very hostile atmosphere. The ghost of a
tall man in a dark cloak has been seen by some guests. The end of the
garden has manifested the sounds of the clash of weapons on armour in
battle and there are rumours of a skirmish between Celts and Romans in the
The Castle has many ghosts. Henry
VIII haunts the deanery cloisters, where his groans and dragging footsteps
are heard. Elizabeth I haunts the Royal Library and is said to have been
seen by several members of the Royal family. The sound of her high heels
are heard on bare floorboards, before her imposing figure appears and
passes through the library and into an inner room. The sad face of mad
King George III is seen peering from the window in the room where he was
often detained. Charles I haunts a Canon’s House in the castle
precincts. The Deanery is haunted by a young boy who shouts, “I don’t
want to go riding today”. It is probably his footsteps which are heard
in the same building. The ‘Prison Room’ in the Norman Tower is
haunted, possibly by a former Royalist prisoner from Civil War times.
Children playing there have seen him and adults have felt him brush past.
The kitchen of one of the buildings which make up the horseshoe cloisters
is haunted by a man leading a horse. They walk straight through the wall,
for the cloisters were once the cavalry stables. A young girl has also
been seen here, standing by a Christmas Tree. Ghostly footsteps are heard
on the staircase in the Curfew Tower and, on one occasion, the bells began
to swing on the own while the temperature became distinctly chilly. In
1873, a night-time visitor to the castle noticed an interesting new
statuary group had been erected near St. George’s
Chapel: three standing
figures, all in black, and a fourth crouching down. The central standing
character was in the act of striking with a large sword. The sentry knew
nothing of this artwork and when the visitor return to re-examine it, it
had gone! There is also the ghost of the Duke of Buckingham’s father,
William of Wykeham (the building’s architect) and, of course, the famous
Herne the Hunter who is more often seen in the Great Park. Read
the full story.
The Long Walk is haunted by the
ghost of a young Grenadier Guard who shot himself while on duty there in
the 1920s. He was seen by at least two of his colleagues, immediately
after his death.
Herne the Hunter became the
favourite huntsman of King Richard II when he saved the monarch from being
mauled to death by a cornered stag. Being wounded in the process, he was
later healed through witchcraft and the wearing of the stag’s antlers.
Unfortunately though, his subsequent friendship with the King and skill in
the field, bred jealousy in his colleagues and he was framed for theft.
Shame led him to hang himself on ‘Herne’s Oak’ in the Home Park and,
with a Wild Hunt, his spirit has since been seen many times careering
across the Great Park searching for lost souls. Read
the full story.
Nobbscrook Farm behind Drift Road
was haunted by a woman in a mob cap who walked the corridors at night.
Horses would not pass a pond in the grounds.
Orchard Lea in Drift Road has an
oppressive atmosphere in the bedrooms on the top floor. This is somehow
related to a fight between two brothers in the house which eventually led
to one of them being drowned in a lake outside.
Westfield House at
Lambrook-Haileybury School has a number of reported ghosts: a vast
Red-Indian figure standing guard beside a particular bed in an upstairs
dormitory; a crying woman, heard but not seen in the attic flat; and a
black dog that wanders the grounds.
The daughter of Philip Weston of
Bussock House, a great Royalist, fell in love with a smart Roundhead
officer. Her father arranged to send her news after the Battle of Newbury
by trumpet - one blast if he were killed, two if her lover were killed and
three if both were killed. Waiting by her open window, her anxious ears
discerned three blasts. With both father and lover gone, what had life to
offer? She sought peace in death by casting herself down the well. Since
that fateful day, her ghost has haunted the place. A slight variance of
this story says that she ran out of the house on hearing the three trumpet
blasts and accidentally fell down the open well.
A phantom horse and rider haunts nearby Bussock Hill where he was killed in a riding accident.
King’s Head in Wokingham is said
to be haunted by an 18th century gentleman in a full-bottomed wig.
In the mid-17th century, a young
girl, impregnated and then jilted by her lover, hanged herself in a
bedroom of the Old Rose Inn. Her spirit used to walk silently through the
hotel rooms. This was not at the present building but one which stood on
the site of the Co-op.
Froghall, alias Waterloo Lodge, a
Queen Anne style house was said to be haunted by a lady with a spinet. The
family who once lived there, however, only saw the ghost of an elderly
man. He liked to rearrange the ornaments on the mantelpiece and his
footsteps were also heard upstairs. More recently he seems to have become
fixated upon a certain door in the building which opens at will.
The A329 is haunted, at a point
outside the ‘Three Frogs,’ by the old London Coach which disappeared
in the area.
In 1979, modern offices owned by the Council were thought to be haunted by a man in grey who slapped the cleaners on the bottom. However, investigation revealed the ghost to be a coat stand and the slaps, a discharge of static electricity in the new carpets!
Poltergeist-like disturbances have occurred in a certain ground-floor flat in Wokingham since the Summer of 1993. Cups flew out of cupboards and smashed on the floor and the pet parrots awoke the household in a terrible commotion accompanied by strange sliding temperature: one minute uncomfortably hot, then shockingly cold before returning to normal. A year later, the family lodger died, yet those left behind continued to feel his presence in the flat and smell his aftershave. Flying cups and saucers have increased, objects have been inexplicably thrown off the fridge and a silver tray will not stay in its cupboard. The key to the back door has been known to swing uncontrollably on its hook, despite having been placed there most gently; while the cat will no-longer sleep in the kitchen.
Wooley Firs, alias the White House,
is haunted by a ghostly coach and four helping a former resident to elope.
A certain Miss. W…. died at the
old Catholic College, now Douai Abbey School, in the 1850s. The room in
which she passed away was, afterwards, given to manifestations of the lady
in her grave clothes, both to those who knew her and those who did not.
The latter sometimes thought she was one of the servants in a night-dress.
The ‘Ghost Room’ was later converted into a store-room and the
lady’s spirit was subsequently seen many times by the schoolboys, before
the building was finally pulled down.
attic of Woolhampton House, now a school, was always said to be haunted.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.|